Much has been made of last week’s vote granting Amazon the ability to “flex” Thursday night games for the upcoming NFL season. It’s a development worth monitoring, affecting both players (who, if flexed, would have fewer days to recover between games) and fans who pays hundreds of dollars to attend games.
Few, if any teams would actually be affected by this—Amazon is only permitted to flex two games, occurring between Weeks 13-17. Still, Al Michaels, who made his TNF debut last season following his many years as the voice of Sunday Night Football on NBC, would prefer it not come to that, crossing his fingers that Amazon’s Thursday night slate will remain relatively intact.
“Flex [scheduling] is fine,” Michaels relayed to Derek Futterman of Barrett Sports Media. “I’m hoping that the games as scheduled are good enough that we won’t have to flex.”
Al Michaels, here, appears to be throwing subtle shade at Amazon, alluding to his first year in the Thursday night booth, which included stinkers like Colts/Broncos, Commanders/Bears and the eyesore that was Jaguars/Jets.
The new scheduling rules have been the subject of much debate, with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo coming out in staunch opposition to the changes, lamenting the NFL for accommodating Amazon’s every whim, doing so at great expense to fans, including some who may only get out to the stadium once a year.
“Whatever happened to Sunday at 1 PM?” Mad Dog asked during his weekly appearance on First Take. “Now we have to throw Amazon a bone and flex that Thursday night schedule between Weeks 13 and 17 while the poor fan who plans his vacation on Sunday at 1 o’clock and he finds out four days beforehand, ‘Sorry, the Giants have moved to Thursday!'”
Mad Dog has some feelings on Thursday Night Football flex scheduling pic.twitter.com/2NaSHg2smt
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 24, 2023
That’s not quite how it works—the league is required to give teams 28 days notice before a game gets flexed, so it’s not as if Amazon would be springing this decision on fans last minute. And while other players might see it differently, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce said he actually prefers Thursday night games, allowing his body a slight reprieve with fewer practice reps and a long weekend to recover.
Games that could be flexed out of Thursday night include Seahawks/Cowboys in Week 13, Patriots/Steelers in Week 14, Chargers/Raiders in Week 15, Saints/Rams in Week 16 and, finally, Jets/Browns in Week 17.